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National Mail Order Association

 On the Art of Writing Copy 

The Art of Writing Copy

by Herschell Gordon Lewis

What are you planning to write?

YOU HAVE IT ALL RIGHT HERE—everything you need to write more powerful, more profitable copy. It’s the Master Work by the world’s master copywriter.

If you have any interest in the power of the written word…or any control over what those words are supposed to accomplish…you’re about to choose the right book.

Herschell Gordon Lewis, internationally recognized as the number-one copywriter in the world, has made this book his magnum opus. In these pages, you’ll find:

  • How to write “killer” e-mail copy
  • How to avoid spam filters and still sell with power
  • Simple, effective rules for letter writing
  • When to use envelope copy and what to say
  • How broadcast copy differs
  • Why some of the old rules don’t work any more
  • How to write an effective guarantee

It's all here for you in simple, straightforward language.

Two Huge Bonuses!
Bonus 1: Here are hundreds of examples, some excellent and some so stupid you’ll wonder how they ever made it into print, on the air, or through the computer.

Bonus 2: Here are more than 100 specific rules copy professionals use to grab and sell readers, viewers, and listeners.

Far and away the most complete, most comprehensive, and, yes, the most useful handbook and guide to copywriting ever published, this will be the most thumbed-through book on your shelf because by any criterion it’s The Bible of Copywriting. Enjoy it. Use it. Profit from it.

Table of Contents

1. Digging for Constants in a Changing Media World 1
2. Clarity: The Bridge Linking Art and Science 7
3. You, Me, and What Makes Us Respond 22
4. The Lean Machine: How to Use Words 40
5. Writing Motivational Copy 48
6. How to Use “If,” “Can,” and “Will” 68
7. The Pros and Cons of Comparative Copy 75
8. How to Write a Guarantee 93
9. Getting—and Keeping—Attention 100
10. Understanding and Using the Rules of Positivism 110
11. Getting to the Point—And Warming Up Your Copy 131
12. The Copywriter’s Private Short Course in Grammar and Usage 137
13. How to Write Direct Mail Letters 150
14. Direct Mail/Direct Response: 50 Profitable Rules and Tips 160
15. How to Write Speed Format Copy 188
16. Writing Television Copy 194
17. How and When to Use--and When Not to Use—Celebrities 207
18. How to Write Winning Radio Copy 218
19. Writing Copy for the Internet 228
20. Writing Effective Fund Raising Copy 244
21. Who’s Message Is It, Anyway? Writing for Special-Interest Groups 258
22. Specialty Ad-Writing: Lots and Lots of Media and Techniques 265
23. Sometimes a Hot Medium, Sometimes Cold: How to Write “Card Deck” Copy That Sells 280
24. Lots of Tips for Writing Catalog Copy 285
25. The Asterisk Exception 309
26. A Tip a Day ... So You Can Write Powerhouse Copy within One Month 316
27. A Concise Compendium of Rules for Effective Copywriting 332
28. A Glossary of Communications Terms 348
Which Watch Is Worth Watching? 355

A lot of direct marketing pros claim to know the secrets of successful copy. Herschell really does know the secrets – you can tell by his own entertaining yet authoritative writing style – and he's generous enough to share those secrets with the rest of us.
-Sherry Chiger
Editorial Director
Catalog Age

Only Herschell Gordon Lewis gives clear insight into the marvelous potential of force communication. His use of creative dialogue provides unlimited opportunities for all types of advertises to say it better and make selling more compelling in today’s changing world. So if it’s the Internet, print, radio, TV or direct mail advertising, copywriters can turn to H.G. Lewis, the Master Wordsmith. His writing is humorous, the illustrations are revealing, and his recommendations are relevant and precise. The chapter that gives “thirty golden nuggets to help write dynamic copy” is a “page turner.” You’ll read it over and over again. It’s a must-read for those in the communications business.
-Robert Dunhill
Dunhill International List Company, Inc.

Nobody in the entire history of advertising – direct response or other – has marshaled the English language and sent it out to sell better than Herschell Gordon Lewis. A practitioner is nuts not to acquire this classic--and memorize it!
-Denny Hatch
Author of Method Marketing and Million Dollar Mailing

Don’t even think about putting pen to paper until you have read Herschell Gordon Lewis’s On the Art of Writing Copy. Totally updated, this third edition will improved the writing skills of even the most experienced writer.
-Katie Muldoon
Muldoon & Baier, Inc.

With many books and presentations, once you get beyond the window dressing you find that you’ve heard it all before. Not so with Herschell. Whether he is sharing his skills in the classroom, via articles he writes for the trade press, or in one of his many outstanding books, you know you’re in the company of an absolute original. This, Herschell’s latest work, has to be his best yet and that, as his many “fans” will tell you, is no mean feat.
-Jane Revell-Higgins,
Publisher Catalogue & e-Business Journal &
Organizer of the ECMOD Catalogue Conference,
Exhibition & Awards

Herschell Gordon Lewis is probably the greatest living practitioner of direct marketing, and he's also one of the field's best innovators. Not only does he have an extraordinary track record for producing copy that delivers results, he continues to epitomize the cutting-edge of what works, year after-year. Those who need to understand the latest and best practices in copywriting, can't afford to ignore the completely updated edition of Herschell Gordon Lewis On the Art of Writing Copy. I've seen first-hand what copy written by Herschell Gordon Lewis can do for the bottom line. Even after decades of setting the pace, he still knows how to deliver results. On the Art of Writing Copy shows virtually any good writer how to emulate "the master." Whether it's traditional magazine advertising, direct mail or web site copy, you can't find a better source helpful rules of thumb and useful examples. I'm not only a heavy consumer of direct marketing copywriting, but I also read hundreds of business books every year as part of my job. On the Art of Writing Copy represents the latest and best "how to" thinking from one of the greatest practitioners and innovator in direct markets. But more important for the marketing executive, it puts the latest trends in media and copy into a broader business and marketing context. Therefore, it's a real asset to every marketer, whether you actually write copy or not.
-Fred Rogers

At last – a new edition of Herschell Gordon Lewis's classic on direct response copywriting. And it was worth the wait, for Herschell hasn't merely put a fresh gloss on old material – he has authored several new chapters that explain how to write for both offline and online media. This is a book for writers, written by one of the greatest advertising copywriters of all time.
-Ray Schultz

About the Author of On the Art of Writing Copy

Herschell Gordon Lewis is one of the leading copywriters of the past half-century. He is author of 27 books, including Marketing Mayhem, The Advertising Age Handbook of Advertising, Selling on the Net, and Sales Letters That Sizzle. Mr. Lewis has written for many trade publications, including Direct, Direct Marketing Magazine, Selling, 1 to 1, Direct Marketing News, and is the copy columnist for Catalog Age. He also has addressed advertising and marketing audiences around the world. In 2003, he was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.

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